For and Why

The History of Now4 OSU-Cascades

In September 2016, OSU-Cascades celebrated it’s grand opening in Bend. It was born out of a 30-year community effort to bring a university to Central Oregon. The OSU-Cascades Campus is the first university campus to open in Oregon in more than 50 years and it serves students in one of the fastest-growing parts of the state. Before the opening of OSU-Cascades, Bend had been the largest metropolitan area in Oregon without a four-year university.

Although Bend and Central Oregon represent one of the state’s most vibrant economies, the region lags behind the rest of the state in higher educational attainment.

With studies showing that most freshmen who attend public universities do so within 50 miles of home, rural families in the region had been falling behind. As OSU-Cascades expands, it has the capacity to transform students’ lives – including first-generation college students, underserved populations, and adults seeking career advancement. With half the unemployment rate of individuals with only a high school diploma and nearly twice the earning potential, Central Oregonians with a bachelor’s degree have the opportunity to contribute to our region and the greater world.

OSU-Cascades Students: 67% Central Oregonians, 32% first generation college students, 50% Pell Grant eligible (indicating financial need), 16% minority students

Statements of Support

The Governor’s Regional Solutions Advisory Committee has made investment in the OSU-Cascades campus in Bend, and the continuing care and nurturing of that institution, the number one economic development priority for our region.  That Advisory Committee has been composed of elected County Commissioners from Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson Counties, Mayors from Prineville, Redmond, Lapine and Sisters as well as representatives from the business and philanthropy communities.  Committee support has been consistent and unanimous.  It comes from all parts of Central Oregon.

The continued growth of OSU-Cascades will provide needed skilled and trained workers for our growing tech, outdoor product, biotech and software sectors.  It will help continue the diversification of our economy to avoid our historical boom and bust cycles.  It will stimulate enriched educational and cultural opportunities for all our citizens.

Continued investment in OSU-Cascades will provide a very high return on investment for our community, our region and the State of Oregon.

Mike Hollern
Chairman, Brooks Resources Corporation
Convener, Governor’s Central Oregon Regional Solutions Advisory Committee

The OSU Cascades campus is essential to Central Oregon businesses. OSU Cascades’ development will not only support the fast-growing economy and population of Central Oregon, which desperately needs a robust workforce pipeline, it will fuel private investment throughout the region as new research and business development grows from a robust university. Central Oregon is fast becoming a magnet for the national outdoor industry, biotechnology, technology, manufacturing and STEM-based businesses. It also continues to thrive as an agricultural center for the state which requires access to research and a high-performing workforce. OSU Cascades is the essential catalyst that will not only afford Central Oregon’s fast-growing population of students a local university option, it will power investment and economic vitality both here and throughout Oregon.

Katy Brooks
The Central Oregon Chambers of Commerce